Business Briefs

FROM THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE: Glacial Lakes Energy celebrates 15 years, Exxon Mobil and the University of Wisconsin-Madison extend a research agreement, Alliance Bio-Products moves forward in buying the former IneosBio plant, and more.
By Lisa Gibson | August 16, 2017

Glacial Lakes Energy celebrates 15 years
Glacial Lakes Energy LLC, a 100 MMgy ethanol plant in Watertown, South Dakota, is celebrating 15 years of production. It also recently completed a unit train shipping facility.

GLE was formed in May 2001 and began production at its Watertown plant in August 2002. The operation had an initial production capacity of 40 MMgy, but underwent an expansion in 2007. The Watertown plant uses more than 43 million bushels of locally grown corn every year and also produces nearly 340,000 tons per year of high-quality distillers grain. GLE also operates a second 100 MMgy in Mina, South Dakota.

“We are excited to have reached this milestone,” says GLE CEO Jim Seurer. “For the past 15 years, we are proud to have made a significant contribution to our local economy, the value-added agriculture industry, our national energy security and ultimately to consumers. We look forward to serving our communities and the U.S. ethanol industry for many more years to come. Our new state-of-the-art unit train shipping facility is a perfect fit for our future and well-positions the company for the next 15 years.”

University of Wisconsin-Madison, ExxonMobil extend research agreement
The University of Wisconsin-Madison and ExxonMobil have announced a two-year renewal of an agreement to research the fundamental chemistry of converting biomass into transportation fuels. The research is part of a broad effort to identify scalable and commercially viable solutions to help meet increasing global energy demand with a renewable resource.

The project leverages the university’s expertise with ExxonMobil’s resources and strong technological capabilities. A new approach to cellulosic biofuels with the potential to reduce the number of processing steps will be explored. The work will focus on the potential of solvents to dissolve the entire biomass, which might make it possible to convert the whole biomass into fuel-sized molecules in a single reactor.

The research also will explore the catalytic transformation of bioderived ethanol into bioderived diesel and jet fuel.

Alliance Bio-Products gets approval to buy IneosBio plant
Alliance Bio-Products Inc. has received approval from the USDA to purchase an existing cellulosic ethanol plant in Vero Beach, Florida.

The purchase includes the 8 MMgy plant, about 143 acres and the equipment and vehicles from the previous plant, which was owned by IneosBio. The plant was built in 2012, but IneosBio idled it in 2015 and put it up for sale, citing production challenges. The new plant will use the existing fermentation and distillation system. Alliance Bio-Products plans to expand at the site as production increases.

Alliance Bio-Products will convert the plant to support its cellulose-to-sugar process, using trash, yard clippings, agricultural waste and other materials through an agreement with the Indian River County landfill.

Pacific Ethanol to acquire Illinois Corn Processing
Pacific Ethanol Inc. will acquire Illinois Corn Processing for $76 million, which includes $15 million in working capital, according to Pacific Ethanol. ICP is a 90 MMgy fuel and industrial alcohol manufacturing, storage and distribution facility adjacent to Pacific Ethanol’s Pekin, Illinois, plant. ICP produces fuel-grade ethanol, beverage and industrial-grade alcohol, dry distillers grain and corn oil. The facility has direct access to end markets via barge, rail and truck.

Combined, the two facilities represent 250 million gallons of production.

“ICP has a history of consistent profitability operating at better-than-average industry margins,” says Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol president and CEO, in a statement. “As such, we expect the ICP acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings. To further enhance the plant’s value, we have identified several improvement initiatives. As we apply the best practices developed at our plants, we expect to improve yields, increase plant capacity utilization and continue to enhance ICP’s production processes through additional capital investments.”